Derrick Rose is the Most Popular Player in the NBA

Derrick Rose didn’t exactly have the dream follow up season to his MVP campaign in 2010-2011, but his jersey has been the best selling NBA jersey since April 2011, topping Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony over the past year.

Rose has played in only 39 games for the Chicago Bulls this season, averaging 21.8 points and 7.9 assists as the Bulls have gone 49-16 so far this season, clinching the top spot in the East for the second straight season. Home advantage did not help them in the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat last season.

The Bulls will play either the Philadelphia 76ers or the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. The team they don’t play will face off against the Miami Heat. LeBron James, the projected 2011-2012 MVP, has ‘won’ the best selling jersey crown twice since entering the league. He finished 4th in sales this year.

Kobe Bryant, who has had the top selling jersey in the NBA six times over the last 10 seasons, finished third in the league.  His Lakers clinched the division title and are currently third in the Western Conference, 0.5 ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies. Carmelo Anthony finished fifth in jersey sales.

Another New York Knicks player, Jeremy Lin, was the big surprise of the sales charts, finishing second behind Rose. Adding to his achievement is the fact Lin was an complete unknown until January. There wasn’t even merchandise to buy until his phenomenal breakout into the Knicks starting five and the beginning of Linsanity.

Judging by his rise in popularity which has exceeded his rise among the point guard in the NBA, Lin looks like a lock for the NBA All-Star next season, becoming one of the most popular players in the league and around the world despite not being one of the top players in his position around the league.

In conclusion, why is Rose number one? Not just because he was the MVP and he’s playing for a big-market franchise like Chicago. The fact that he doesn’t create antagonism like Bryant or James probably helped quite a bit.